Wednesday, September 26, 2012

HEALTHY HABITS in your life

1. Never skip your breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Still, many of us skip it thinking that it will help us shed pounds. When you skip breakfast your blood sugar levels, as well as other nutrient levels drop, depriving you of the required nutrition and energy for the rest of the day. Breakfast eaters have a more positive attitude toward school and work, and they perform better.
2. Bite into something good. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Fruits are cool and juicy, so they get you the water you need to stay hydrated and they also provide the vitamins and nutrients that fat-free snack foods don't. They're good and they taste sweet - and some contain antioxidants that help prevent aging. Healthy habits include eating a lot of fruits.
3. Eat regular meals. Skipping meals can lead to out-of-control hunger, often resulting in overeating. When you're very hungry, it's also tempting to forget about good nutrition. Snacking between meals can help curb hunger, but don't eat so much that your snack becomes an entire meal.
4. Quit smoking. Now, studies show that quitting smoking, you can restore your heart function back to that of a non-smoker within a few years. You'll breathe easier, cut down your chances for heart disease, cancer, and more. But you knew that, right? Also, if you're not a smoker, stay away from those who do. Secondhand smoke is a major killer - don't be afraid to tell people gently that you'd prefer it if they didn't smoke around you.
5. Exercise Daily! You don't have to be a professional athlete - just make time for 15-20 minutes of exercise daily. Take a walk, dance crazily to music, go for a jog, play volleyball on the beach, whatever it takes to get your heart pumping for a little while.
6. Get your sleep. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night can extend your life. Your body has time to recharge every night so it's fresh and ready to face the onslaught of the next day.
7. Every day, devote a little time for yourserlf. Take some time out of your "busy" schedule. First, eliminate all forms of intrusion. Then close your eyes, breathe deeply and let your thoughts float downstream like a log carried by the river. You can practice meditation or relax in a hot bath with aromatherapy. When a thought comes up, just watch it float away.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bextra's Safety Questioned

An increasing number of Americans are relieved to learn there are non-drug ways to ease pain now that safety questions have been raised about another well-known and widely used painkiller, Bextra.
Recent meetings of the FDA were preceded by a petition from a leading consumer group, Public Citizen, asking that the drug be taken off the market. Both the FDA and Public Citizen raised concerns about the safety of Bextra, one of the so-called Cox-2 inhibitors. The Cox-2 drugs Vioxx and Bextra were once viewed as “wonder drugs” for arthritis and painful menstrual cycles.
Bextra has moved into the spotlight while the maker of Vioxx is being investigated. Vioxx was one of the nation’s most popular ways to treat pain and arthritis and was taken by an estimated 20 million people before it was withdrawn from the market. That happened after studies linked it to a heightened risk of heart attack and stroke – information that may not have been fully understood when the drugs received FDA approval.
Researchers released information indicating that the chances for heart attack following prolonged use of Vioxx were four times greater than with older over-the-counter pain relievers. It has also been linked to angina and stroke. A University of Pennsylvania study released at a meeting of the American Cardiology Association indicated that those taking Bextra had a 2.19 times greater chance of heart attack, stroke, sudden death and Stevens Johnson Syndrome, a life threatening disorder in which blisters occur on the patient’s body.
The result is many people are now seeking alternative non-drug therapies. They are also investigating legal remedies.
Those seeking non-drug alternatives to relieve chronic pain should discuss their plans with a physician. Known alternative remedies include:
MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane), a compound normally found in foods. It’s used to relieve the pain of osteoarthritis and help strengthen collagen in the joints.
Glucosamine, primarily used to treat osteoarthritis. Research indicates that glucosamine is as effective as low doses of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen. It appears to relieve pain and improve movement, slow the progression of the disease and protect joints from further damage.
Wobenzym, an enzyme combination and a top-selling supplement in Europe, now available in North America.
Bromelain, an anti-inflammatory and digestive aid used primarily in Japan, Hawaii and Taiwan.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Frozen Shoulder Treatment

If you've read my other frozen shoulder articles or visited my frozen shoulder website (details below) then you now know a great deal about frozen shoulder and about the options for frozen shoulder treatment.
I'm sure that the knowledge you've gained is already helping you to cope with your frozen shoulder symptoms and I truly hope that you've found a doctor or therapist who has helped you find some pain relief.
But what if you haven't - or if you've gained only partial relief from your frozen shoulder treatment? What follows are my top tips for surviving with your shoulder symptoms until nature works her magic. Remember - stay positive - you will get through this and you will soon return to full normal function without pain or discomfort.
First tip for frozen shoulder treatment: Keep your shoulder warm!
I know that it almost sounds too obvious but it works! Use warm or hot compresses (or buy a heating pad) and use it over your shoulder four or five times a day for fifteen minutes at a time. It also works well applied in your armpit - the warmth travels up into the shoulder.
Many of my frozen shoulder patients have also found great relief - particularly at night - by using a heated pad or thermal blanket. There are a variety of moderately sophisticated products available, and a range of other inexpensive options, some of which you simply heat in the microwave before use. You can find details of these products on the website links below.
Second tip for frozen shoulder treatment: Sleep with an extra pillow!
No - not a pillow for your head, but a pillow under your shoulder on the affected side. Loss of sleep at night makes it much harder to cope with shoulder pain during the day and if you roll onto the painful shoulder when asleep you will wake up in pain. Sleep on your back with the extra pillow under your sore shoulder.
Frozen shoulder treatment tip number three: Massage helps your shoulder pain!
The pain of frozen shoulder comes from the joint but the surrounding muscles can become very tired and tense. Massage can produce good short-term relief of pain. A family member, a friend or professional masseur could help with this. As with heated pads, there are a number of self massaging devices available and you can find more details on my website by following the links below.
Fourth tip for frozen shoulder treatment: Try dietary supplements!
Natural products like glucosamine or fish oils have been shown to ease joint pains and stiffness. Some herbal remedies have pain-relieving properties. This does not work for everyone but might be worth a try for your frozen shoulder pain.
I've had particular success recently with products based on honeybee venom. The use of honeybee venom is based on the long-known fact that bee keepers (who often get stung) very rarely develop arthritis or problems with their joints and muscles.
Now - the braver amongst you (not including me I hasten to add) might volunteer for traditional "bee sting therapy" where you are subjected to repeated stings from a succession of bees held in tweezers!
Most of us would feel more comfortable simply applying the bee sting venom in the form of a balm to be rubbed into the painful or stiff area. In truth, I was a bit sceptical about all of this at first, but a large number of my patients have had great benefit from its use and I recommend you give it a try if you are interested. It's certainly a very natural way to obtain pain relief.
Fifth tip for frozen shoulder treatment: Buy or borrow a TENS machine!
TENS - or trans cutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is a good and safe way to induce pain relief and some muscle relaxation. It works by stimulating the skin nerves and thus encourages the brain to pay less attention to the incoming pain signals from the joint. It doesn't seem to work for everyone but may be well worth a try.
Frozen shoulder treatment tip number six: Strap or support the arm from time to time!
If your shoulder is in the frozen stage then support from a simple strap can be of great value. Be careful of strapping too much in the other phases of the condition. You may simply encourage the shoulder to stay stiff for longer. As before, the website links below give details of strapping and support products.
Final tip for frozen shoulder treatment: Consider short term medication to improve sleep
People are naturally concerned about becoming dependent on sleeping medication - justifiably so. But for short term use there is no risk of dependency or addiction. Consider asking your doctor for a sedative medication if your frozen shoulder is stopping you from sleeping.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My High Blood Pressure

I have probably had high blood pressure for a long time. This is the story of how I found out.
In hindsight, I can identify many symptoms of high blood pressure, but I either ignored them or thought they were related to other things.
The major symptom I had was headaches. Most days I would either wake up with a headache or develop one. Some of them were real "head splitters" ... occasionally I would have to lie down to stop the nausea. I remember often working in front of my computer and trying very hard not to move my head to avoid feeling sharp pains.
Since being diagnosed with high blood pressure and starting medication, I have not had one headache (around nine months now). My headaches were definitely due to my high blood pressure, but back then I thought they were due to stress, or poor posture due to sitting at a computer all day ... or any number of things.
I had been told for years by doctors that my blood pressure was high, but that it was probably due to the "white coat"effect. Turns out it wasn't. I went to a new doctor, and as she took my blood pressure, she had a very worried look on her face.
My systolic blood pressure reading was over 200.
She told me to go to hospital immediately and made me promise I would not ignore her warning. At the time I did think she was over-reacting, and I pictured myself sitting in the hospital emergency waiting room for a couple of hours, waiting for a doctor to see me, giving me a couple of pills to take, and heading home.
The actual story was very different.
I arrived at emergency and was given the standard "patient detail" form to fill out. Before I was 1/3 of the way through, a nurse turned up to take my blood pressure. She also got a worried look on her face, and took me straight to one of the emergency beds. This is in a hospital system famous for making people wait hours in emergency.
I had doctors all over me ... injecting things, taking blood, scanning me and god knows what else.
My clearest memory of that day was suddenly feeling very light headed.
The doctor later told me that I "liked" a drug (I think it was hydralazine) he injected into me. I say "liked" because only a doctor could think I "liked" it. In about 30 seconds I went from feeling what I then considered normal, to being drenched in sweat, head spinning and throwing up my lunch. The nurses told me later that I was as white as a ghost.
I remember asking one of the emergency nurses if she thought I would be able to go home that night. She laughed.
I ended up spending 4 days in intensive care, and 6 days in the general hospital before they let me go home.
The quality of the care, the doctors and the nurses were all amazing. We have a free hospital system in Australia which sometimes gets a bad rap, but my experience was very positive.
They never found a cause ... I just have high blood pressure. I take a fair bit of medication, and my blood pressure is now at normal levels.
My doctor told me to buy a blood pressure monitor and record my readings each day. Because I kept forgetting to take my readings, I wrote a software program to remind me. The software also charts the readings from my home monitor, and it is clear that my readings have been dropping over the last six months.
My readings are now around 110-120 over 70-80. Much better, but more importantly, I feel a lot better ... I had no idea that high blood pressure could make you feel so unwell.
If you also have high blood pressure I wish you well! If you have not seen a doctor about it, I highly recommend it ... don't leave it as late as I did, they can help you to feel a lot better!